Is Sherrod Brown (D-Oh!) Feeling a Bit Skittish?

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Recently, the Communication Workers of America teamsters (or as one political wag calls them, “the Communista Workers of Amerika”) paid for a radio advertisement running on Ohio stations, extolling the virtues of Sen. Sherrod Brown… over two years before the election. Click play on the embedded Flash doohickey below, or click here to listen to the mp3 version.

Yep, someone’s scared. And they have good reason to be. Here’s why:

Sherrod Brown is the dimmer half of Ohio’s US Senate delegation, who lucked into the Senate seat by running against a weakened Sen. Mike DeWine in an abysmal year for Republicans all around, in 2006.

Since having the election pretty much gifted to him by circumstances beyond his control or influence, Brown’s pretty much served as a seat-filler. He votes the party line, does what Barack Obama tells him to, and pretty much just serves the interests of the Congressional Progressive Caucus that he sits with, as opposed to serving the interests of Ohio voters.

For those who don’t know, the Progressive Caucus was founded in 1991 by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), a self-described socialist. Some of the Progressive Caucus’s pet causes include the socialization of American health care, radical environmentalism, as well as the usual cadre of anti-American foreign policy goals that come with being a Democrat these days.

However, signs are starting to pop up, suggesting that, going into the run-up to 2012, Brown may be vulnerable.

A December poll by Democratic Party-leaning pollster PPP (PDF available here) found that only 43% of Ohio voters would vote for Brown, the same amount of people who would vote for current Ohio AG Mike DeWine, in a hypothetical grudge rematch.

The same poll found that Brown would squeak out a win over current Ohio lieutenant governor Mary Taylor, Brown taking 40% to Taylor’s 38%, ± 4.3%.

Interestingly, 65% of respondents reported that they did not know enough about Taylor to form an opinion, other than the fact that they’d rather have “Senator Taylor,” as opposed to “Senator Brown.”

Only 40% of voters had a favorable opinion of Sherrod, who is married to Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz, whereas 37% had an unfavorable opinion.

PPP added an ominous warning for Brown, noting that “Brown’s ceiling right now is a dangerously low 43%, and he is only narrowly winning these hypothetical matchups because an unusually high 14-38% of Republicans and independents are undecided.”

Of course, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. If you are surprised, let me blind you with some political science.

According to OnTheIssues.org, a non-partisan website which tracks the votes and position statements of candidates and politicians across the nation, Sen. Brown accomplishes a feat that many would think implausible—being more liberal than Barack Obama.

As you can see from the chart, using data from OnTheIssues, Brown is not only more liberal than Obama, but also out-liberals arch-progressive Howard Dean, is in turn less liberal than former Ohio governor and supposed moderate, Ted Strickland.

The up-shot of all this? When your supporters and power base feel that you are in such statistical dire waters that they have to start campaigning before the campaign even starts, you know that you’re standing on sinking sand.

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